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Ex-police chief detained in Politkovskaya murder case

Published time: August 23, 2011 20:37
Edited time: August 24, 2011 11:43

Anna Politkovskaya (AFP Photo / Jens Schlueter)

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Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov, a former chief of the fourth division of the Moscow City Police Operational Search Department has been detained on suspicion of involvement in the killing of Novaya Gazeta reporter Anna Politkovskaya on October 7, 2006.

Pavlyuchenkov is reportedly suspected of having been contracted to kill the journalist when he served with the police.

Pavlyuchenkov “figured in the first trial dealing with the journalist's murder as a secret witness for the prosecution, and therefore he was questioned in a secret procedure,” Nadezhda Prusenkova, the newspaper’s press secretary, told Interfax on Tuesday.

“He said then that he had learned about the murder from the defendants, but now the investigation has every reason to presume that he was an accomplice,” she said. “A motion on taking Pavlyuchenkov into custody is likely to be forwarded to a court tomorrow. He is currently in a pre-trial detention facility in Moscow.”

Investigators say that it was Pavlyuchenkov who put together the criminal group, arranged the shadowing of Politkovskaya, and provided the killer with a gun and silencer.

Sergey Sokolov, the deputy editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta, says that the arrested man “has been misleading investigators in a very clever way for a long time, pretending to be an important source of information about the murder.”

“We and the prosecutors had doubts that he was sincere, but there was not enough evidence. Now prosecutors have enough evidence, also collected by Novaya Gazeta, that show this man was linked to Politkovskaya's murder. It's difficult to say if this arrest will help to discover who ordered the murder, because such crimes are based on a very complicated scheme,” he said. “There may be a long chain of mediators. So it'll take time before investigators can answer all the questions.”